It has been wet and cold (in relative terms!) for us this week. The garden is refreshed and the water tank a third full again. Hopefully we can get more rain to fill it up again before winter is over.
We have been experimenting with the use of the new "Hay Box" (above) that DH made for me.
Since my last post, DH painted the Hay box and it has found a permanent place in my laundry.
It is great for proofing my sourdough overnight. Last winter I used to wrap the bowl in a blanket on the kitchen bench, or heat the oven very slightly and put the bread in there. With the Hay Box I just put the bread dough in an oiled saucepan and tuck it in to the Hay Box. The method of making sourdough to this stage does not, of course, have any heat, so as I have a microwaveable stone pad, I heat it slightly in the microwave for 1 minute on medium, then put that underneath the dough in the saucepan. The last step is to tuck a cushion I made from a leftover curtain, stuffed with more leftover Earthwool insulation on top before I add the lid. The couple of times I have used the Hay Box the bread has risen beautifully by morning.
The first of our pumpkins was harvested. I weighed it as 6 kilos! If you have bought pumpkin from a supermarket (or bought it in a can, as apparently happens in some places) you have really never experienced the wonder that fresh pumpkin can offer, cut on your kitchen bench with the fragrant perfume of ripe orange flesh which is dripping with juicy goodness. It is of course pumpkin season, so pumpkin is only $3 a kilo at the moment, but still, that one is worth $18 and all I did was let it run rampant under the citrus in the back yard. There are 5 more out there!
With 6 kilos to manage, I had to get busy in processing it. I roasted some and it went into the pumpkin soup, which I started on the stove and heated to boiling and put it in the Hay Box for about 7 hours. When we got it out for dinner the internal contents were +60C which is fine. I blended the soup and heated it a bit on the stove before serving, adding a squeeze of lemon to take the edge off the sweetness.
Some of the pumpkin was just steamed in the microwave and frozen for later use.
My granddaughter (aged 8) came over and we made pumpkin scones, and then the rest of the family came to help us eat them.
Another use of the Hay Box was that I cooked some jasmine rice in an equal volume of boiling water for 5 minutes and then tucked the pot into the slow cooker for about 90 minutes. When I pulled it out the rice was beautifully cooked by the absorption method with no dried overcooked rice on the bottom. I can see me thinking twice about the electric rice cooker -maybe it could go, and this would become the favourite method around here from now on.
If you are interested in Hay Box cooking, you might find this link helpful - about Hay Boxes and temperatures here
This weekend is a Long Weekend in our state, for the "WA Day" holiday. It is also National Reconciliation Week. "We strive towards a more just, equitable nation by championing unity and mutual respect as we come together and connect with one another. On this journey, Australians are all In This Together; every one of us has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures".
I have been reading Layla Saad's book "Me and White Supremacy". It is a difficult and thoughtful work. We have much to do here in Western Australia to overcome our terrible history of oppression and marginalization and dispossession of the Indigenous people of this land. Watching the USA in terrible conflict over race relations is scary and sobering.
I was much saddened by the terrible news about the destruction of a 43,000 year old site of Aboriginal culture THIS WEEK by RioTinto, who blew it up to extend a mine, and did so 'legally'. Sure, they got around to apologising, but there is no way to compensate the traditional owners, let alone all of us, for the loss of this site of world significance.
I leave you with this thought.